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Jonathan's Space Report
No. 792  Draft                                                  2021 Apr 23   Somerville, MA

International Space Station

On Apr 23 at 0949:02 UTC SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space
Center LC39A with the Dragon SpX Crew-2 mission. Booster B1061, on its
2nd flight, landed on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You. The
second stage reached a 190 x 213 km x 51.6 deg orbit 8m49s after launch
The Crew Dragon payload consists of Crew Dragon capsule C206
"Endeavour", on its second flight, and a new Crew Dragon Trunk (the 4th)
on its first and only flight. Aboard C206 were astronauts Shane
Kimbrough (NASA), Megan McArthur (NASA), Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet (ESA).
The second stage was deorbited on the first orbit and reentered west of Australia.

Endeavour reached a rendezvous with the ISS at a range of 400 metres at 0820 UTC Apr 24,
and docked with the IDA-2/PMA-2 port at 0908 UTC.

On May 2 at 0035 UTC Resilience undocked from IDA-3/PMA-3 with the Crew-1 astronauts
Hopkins, Glover, Noguchi, and Walker. Resilience made burns at 0040, 0128, 0214 and 0407 UTC
lowering its orbit slightly to about 400 km. At 0558 UTC the Dragon trunk was jettisoned
into a 406 x 411 km orbit. The SpaceX commentary implied the trunk and the deorbit propellant total 6000 lb (about
2700 kg) and the Dragon entry mass was 21000 lb (9500 kg); since I estimate the deorbit prop needed to be about 
400 kg, that would imply the trunk mass is a surprisingly large 2300 kg.

Dragon's deorbit burn was frmom 0603:12 to 0619:39 UTC and decreased the spaceship's
velocity by 115.2m/s; entry interface was at 0645 UTC and the vehicle splashed down off the
coast of Panama City, Florida, near 86.0W 29.75N, at about 0656:43 UTC May 2.


36 OneWeb satellites were launched on Apr 25 aboard a Soyuz from
Vostochniy into a 444 x 454 km x 87.4 deg parking orbit.

USA 314

On Apr 26 United Launch Alliance launched a Delta 4 Heavy from
Vandenberg AFB's Space Launch Complex 6 on mission NROL-82. The rocket
placed a heavy National Reconnaissance Office payload codenamed USA 314
in a 525 x 758 km x 98.0 deg, 1300 LTDN sun-synchronous orbit. USA 314
is thought to be a version of the CRYSTAL imaging space satellite.


China's SAST launched  Chang Zheng 6 no. Y5 from Taiyuan on Apr 27, placing 9 satellites in 
a 1030 LTDN sun-synch orbit:

  Qilu-1, radar imaging satellite for the Shandong Industrial Technology Research Institute.

  Qilu-4, optical imaging satellite for the Shandong Industrial Technology Research Institute.

  Foshan-1 is an imaging satellite for Jihua Labs in Foshan; it's not
  clear whether they also built the satellite. Jihua Labs appears to be operated by the
  Guandong provincial government.

  Taijing 2-01, an imaging sat from Weina Xingkong Co. (MinoSpace).

  Tianqi 09; IoT comms sat for Guodian Gaokeji, built by Shanghai ASES. 

  Zhongan Guotong 1 (also called Hangsheng 1), from Zhongan Guotong Sat Tech Dev Co (Shenzhen) and
  Hunan Hangsheng Satellite Technology (Changsha). 
  Satellite for real time imaging and data transmission.

  NEO-1, from Shenzhen Origin Space Tech Co. Ltd., with an imager (perhaps
  for asteroid surveys, or just a test version for now?) and an active
  debris removal experiment (with a target and a net, like RemoveDebris).

  Jin Zijing ('Golden Bauhinia') 1-01 and 1-02): two imaging sats from
  Lingzhong Kongjian Jishu (Beijing Zero G Lab). Previously the  G.
  Bauhinia constellation was associated with Hong Kong Aerospace Tech
  Group, unless that's an unrelated system with the same name.  JZ-1-02 is also
  called Lingque-1 D02. 

Vega VV18

Arianespace's light Vega launcher made a successful return to flight with launch
of the Pleiades Neo 3 imaging satellite for Airbus Space and Defense - Intelligence.
The AVUM upper stage then lowered its orbit by 15 km and deployed NorSat-3 for the
Norwegian Space Centre, Bravo for Aurora Insight, ELO Alpha for Eutelsat, and
two Lemur satellites for Spire Global. The Vega AVUM stage was deorbited
over the Indian Ocean west of Australia at 0425 UTC Apr 29.

Intiially no orbital data were released for Pleiades Neo 3, but TLEs became
available on Mar 3 showing it in a 624 x 626 km x 97.9 deg, 1030 LT SSO.
Although it is a commercial imagery satellite, military intelligence may be
one if its major customers.


The Tianhe core module for China's new Tiangong-3 space station was launched from Wenchang
on Apr 29. The 22600 kg module was placed in orbit by a CZ-5B rocket. The large 22-tonne
CZ-5B core stage remains in orbit and is expected to make an uncontrolled reentry.


60 more Starlinks were launched from Cape Canaveral on Apr 29. The Falcon 9 first stage
landed on the JRTI droneship.

Another 60 were launched on May 4 from Kennedy Space Center, with the first stage landing on OCISLY.

Yaogan 34

China launched the Yaogan 34 satellite on Apr 30 to a 1000 km orbit, 
The orbital height and orbital plane of the satellite is matched to the
three Yaogan 31 group 02 satellites.


The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made its third flight on Apr 25 at 0831 UTC. It reached 5m
altitude and went 50m downrange, then returned to its starting point and
landed after an 81s flight. Flight 4, at 1439 UTC Apr 30, went 133m south and returned,
also at 5 m altitude, in a 117 second flight. 

Table of Recent Orbital Launches

Date UT       Name                           Launch Vehicle      Site            Mission  INTL.  Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
Apr  6 2100?  Jackie (AC-10a Probe 5)                            AC-10a, LEO          Calib  19-022P          462 x 475 x 51.6
Apr  7 1634   Starlink 2048                   Falcon 9             Canaveral LC40     Comms   27A  S48092     261 x 280 x 53.0
              Starlink 2404
              Starlink 2412
              Starlink 2414
              Starlink 2417-2418
              Starlink 2421
              Starlink 2428
              Starlink 2430
              Starlink 2436-2440
              Starlink 2442-2445
              Starlink 2447-2452
              Starlink 2454-2455
              Starlink 2458-2460
              Starlink 2462-2469
              Starlink 2471-2476
              Starlink 2478-2493
              Starlink 2503
Apr  8 2301   Shiyan 6-03                     Chang Zheng 4B        Taiyuan            Imaging?  28A  S48157  992 x 1001 x 99.5
Apr  9 0742   Soyuz MS-18                     Soyuz-2-1a            Baykonur           Spaceship 29A  S48159  192 x 228 x 51.6
Apr 23 0949   Endeavour (SpX Crew-2)          Falcon 9              Kennedy LC39A      Spaceship 30A  S48209  210 x 228 x 51.6
Apr 25 2214   OneWeb SL0165    )
              OneWeb SL0176    )              Soyuz                 Vostochniy PU1S    Comms     31           443 x 454 x 87.4
              OneWeb SL0179-189)
              OneWeb SL0191-209)
              OneWeb SL0217-220)
Apr 26 2047   USA 314                         Delta 4H              Vandenberg SLC6    Imaging   32A  S48246? 525 x 758 x 98.0
Apr 27 0320   Qilu-1           )                                                       Radar     33           496 x 510 x 97.4
              Qilu-4           )              Chang Zheng 6         Taiyuan LC16       Imaging   33
              Foshan-1         )                                                       Imaging   33
              Zhongan Guotong 1)                                                       Imaging   33
              Tianqi 09        )                                                       Comms     33
              NEO-1            )                                                       Tech      33
              Taijing 2-01     )                                                       Imaging   33
              Jin Zijing 1-01  )                                                       Imaging   33
              Jin Zijing 1-02  )                                                       Imaging   33
Apr 29 0150   Pleiades Neo 3 )                 Vega                 CSG ZLV            Imaging   34A
              NorSat-3       )                                                         Com (AIS) 34B  S48269? 609 x 614 x 97.8
              AII Bravo      )                                                         Sigint    34
              Lemur 2161     )                                                         Com/Met   34
              Lemur 2162     )                                                         Com/Met   34
              ELO Alpha      )                                                         Com       34
Apr 29 0323   Tianhe                           Chang Zheng 5B       Wenchang LC101     Station   35A   S48274 170 x 382 x 41.5
Apr 29 0344   Starlink 2029                    Falcon 9             Canaveral SLC40    Com       36A-BM       257 x 282 x 53.0
              Starlink 2061
              Starlink 2441
              Starlink 2457
              Starlink 2470
              Starlink 2477
              Starlink 2495
              Starlink 2498
              Starlink 2501-2502
              Starlink 2504
              Starlink 2506-2507
              Starlink 2509-2520
              Starlink 2523-2524
              Starlink 2527-2528
              Starlink 2530
              Starlink 2532-2538
              Starlink 2540-2550
              Starlink 2555-2559
              Starlink 2562
              Starlink 2564-2567
              Starlink 2569
              Starlink 2580
Apr 30 0727   Yaogan 34                       Chang Zheng 4C        Jiuquan            Imaging?  37A  S48341 1092 x 1095 x 63.4
May  4 1901   Starlink                        Falcon 9              Kennedy LC39A      Comms     38A

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

Date UT       Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle      Site                  Mission    Apogee/km    Target

Feb  3        RV                Ghaznavi           Somniani?             Test           80?      Arabian Sea?
Feb  4        ABM Target        B-611?             Taiyuan               Test          200?      Urumqi        
Feb  4        Interceptor       DF-21?             Urumqi?               Interceptor   100?      Takla Makan
Feb  5 0905   OS-X6B            OS-X6B             Jiuquan?              Test          300       Jiuquan?
Feb  9 2330   USN RV            Trident II        Sub, 76W 28N           Op. Test     1000?      S Atlantic
Feb 24 0749   GT237GM           Minuteman III      Vandenberg LF10       Op. Test     1300?      Kwajalein
Feb 27        HE RV             Zulfiqar           Sanaa?                Weapon        150?      Riyadh
Mar  3        Chem. release     Terr.Terr.Oriole   Wallops               Ionosphere    300?      Atlantic
Mar 12 1345   SOUREX            RH-560 Mk III     Satish Dhawan          Atmosphere    300?      Bay of Bengal
Apr 14 1651   NS-15             New Shepard        West Texas            Test          106       West Texas
Apr 19 0830   SHIELDS           Black Brant IX     White Sands           UV Astron     285       White Sands
Apr 28 0800?  M51 payload       MSBS M51           Landes                Test?        1000?      Atlantic

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
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